Tag Archives: Yahya Jammeh

'Gambia-victims, and resisters' portrait of Abdoulie Jamanti Darboe. Image ©Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’ new portraits by Jason Florio

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’: Abdoulie Jamanti Darboe, a former clerk at the training school of the Gambia Armed Forces was arrested and tortured for his supposed involvement in the November 11th, 1994 alleged coup plot. Sent to Mile 2 Prison, he went to court three times. Each time the court stated ‘no case to answer’, and that he should be released. He was finally released, 18 months later, without trial.

“Every Friday at the mosque, I see the man who tortured me in prison. The perpetrators are still enjoying life while we suffer. Reconciliation is the only thing that will bring peace, but not if the perpetrators do not own up to their wrongs.”

Gambia – victims, and resisters

'Gambia-victims, and resisters' portrait of Sainabou Camara Lowe. Image ©Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange
‘Gambia-victims, and resisters‘ Sainabou Camara Lowe. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

“She’s alive! She’s alive! “

On April 10th, 2000, Sainabou Camara Lowe, then a young student, was caught up in student protests erupting in Serrekunda, Gambia’s business hub. She was captured and detained by four paramilitary officers. She was taken to one of the officer’s quarters, where they stripped off her school dress and tied a rope around her neck to restrain her. Sainabou said that the officers then stamped on all over her body, including her groin area until she passed out. Believing she was dead, the officers took her to the mortuary at the hospital. A nurse saw her, and while trying to remove the rope from the young girl’s neck – as she did not want Sainabou’s family to see her body in such a condition – Sainabou took a gasp of breath. “She’s alive! She’s alive!” the nurse shouted and rushed her to the Emergency Ward. Sainabou remained in the hospital for over three months – during which time she was treated for multiple injuries, including internal damage to her vagina.

“When the shooting started we (the students) all ran from the paramilitary. I’m trying to jump over the fence but I cannot.  I already threw one leg over but with the other one they dragged me down and threw me to the ground, they were beating me. Then they took me to their quarters and tied me up. With their boots they were dancing all over my body. Then I became unconscious. For seven days afterwards my family didn’t know where I was, they thought I was dead”

#Portraits4PositiveChange

Watch: I Cannot Bury My Father’ – Director of Photography, Jason Florio / for ANEKED

In 2005, 56 West African migrants, including 44 Ghanaians were murdered in The Gambia en route to Europe. The unarmed migrants were killed by the “Junglers”, a death squad reporting directly to President, Yahya Jammeh, Gambia’s dictator at the time. Evidence has since emerged that Yahya Jammeh, gave the orders to kill them. The families of the victims are still seeking justice.

At the time of release of this documentary, Yahya Jammeh is in exile in Equatorial Guinea. ©ANEKED

'Gambia-victims, and resisters' portrait of journalist, Pa Modou Faal. Image ©Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange
‘Gambia-victims, and resisters‘. Journalist, Pa Modu Faal. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

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Photographers, Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio - portrait courtesy Joanna Demarco, The Gambia, West Africa
Photographers/filmmakers, Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio – portrait courtesy Joanna Demarco, The Gambia, West Africa

From 1994 -2017 President Yahya Jammeh ruled The Gambia, West Africa, as his own personal fiefdom, crushing dissent, and opposition, with brutality.

His personal hit squad and intelligence agency carried out tortures, and assassinations with impunity – journalists were gunned down and disappeared, ministers were jailed, students shot in cold blood, and even his own brother and sister were murdered on his orders. 

With Jammeh’s 2016 election defeat, he went into exile after a standoff with regional forces, and the victims of his regime started to come forward.

So far, over one thousand victims and their families have registered with the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations to share their stories and help build international support to bring Jammeh to justice.

#Jammeh2Justice

This multi-media series is a work in progress – which began at the end of 2016, just before Jammeh was ousted (when we met Gambian dissidents who were hiding out in neighbouring Senegal). Helen and I, have many more portraits to make, and testimonies to film. We are forever indebted to all those who have shared their stories with us so far. View more from the series on my website floriophoto.com

Jason Florio

Photographer & Filmmaker

Current Location: September 2020 – Malta

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PRESS: El Pais - 'Gambia, The Hidden Horrors of Africa's Silent Dictatorship'. Images by Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

Press: El Pais – ‘Gambia, The Hidden Horrors of Africa’s Silent Dictatorship’

Press: El Pais – Gambia, The Hidden Horrors of Africa’s Silent Dictatorship

– Three years after the fall of the Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh, pressured by the street after losing at the polls, a commission (Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations – TRRC) brings to light the terrible crimes committed for two decades, supported by its apparatus of repression, the collusion of justice and the outside inaction – Read the full feature El Pais / words by José Naranjo Noble

Victims of Jammeh - portraits by Jason Florio, The Gambia
Portrait © Jason Florio – 13year old Bintu Tunkara looks at a photograph of the father who she never got to meet, on her mother’s phone. Image © Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

The images are from the on-going multimedia series

by Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

PRESS: El Pais - 'Gambia, The Hidden Horrors of Africa's Silent Dictatorship'. Images by Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
Press: El Pais – ‘Gambia, The Hidden Horrors of Africa’s Silent Dictatorship’. Read more about the featured images ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

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Current Location: July 2020 – coming out of Lockdown London, UK

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The Gambia – All eyes are on the TRRC Live TV

Gambians watch the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission, live on TV © Jason Florio, The Gambia, West Africa
Gambians watch the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission, live on TV. Image © Jason Florio, The Gambia, West Africa

The Gambia – everywhere you go, all eyes are on the TRRC live TV

The TRRC is an independent Gambian institution mandated to conduct research and investigations into human rights violations committed under the presidency of Yahya Jammeh. The Commission further aims to prevent a repetition of the violations and abuses suffered under the past regime by making recommendations to government and citizens aimed at ensuring the crimes of the past never recur in The Gambia. TRRC

Gambians watch the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission, live on TV © Jason Florio, The Gambia, West Africa
All over the Gambia, Gambians watch the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission, live on TV. Image © Jason Florio, The Gambia, West Africa

#NeverAgainGambia

Gambians watch the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission, live on TV © Jason Florio, The Gambia, West Africa
Gambians watch the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission, live on TV. Image © Jason Florio, The Gambia, West Africa

The TRRC is currently hearing the testimonies of the victims of the 2009 witch hunts when over 1000 elders were abducted on the orders of then-President Yahya Jammeh. Paramilitary troops accompanied by ‘magicians’ from Guinea went from village to village as part of a nationwide hunt for witches. The alleged witches were made to drink ‘Kubehjaro’, a hallucinogenic substance, and then forced to confess to witchcraft. A number of people died during the ordeal, due to drinking the liquid and as a result of severe beatings, and several deaths followed due to health complications, such as kidney failure.

Portrait of Sankung Balajo - victims of President Yahya Jammeh's witch hunts, The Gambia, in 2009 © Jason Florio
Sankung Balajo, Essau – victims of President Yahya Jammeh’s witch hunts, The Gambia. Image© Jason Florio

“I was kept for five days. When they forced me to take the medicine (‘Kubehjaro’ a hallucinogenic substance), I could no longer stand up… I fell down on the ground… ” excerpt from Sankung Balajo’s interview with Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio: ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’
#Portraits4PositiveChange

Photographer and filmmaker, Jason Florio, films victims of 2009 witch hunts, which took place in The Gambia, West Africa
Photographer and filmmaker, Jason Florio, films a victim of 2009 witch hunts (in the village of Essau) which took place in The Gambia, West Africa. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio #Portraits4PositiveChange

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GAMBIA: Top Leader in 1994 Coup Testifies before the TRRC. Image ©Jason Florio/JusticeInfo.net

Image © Jason Florio - The Gambia, Edward Singhateh, former Defense Minister, testifies before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, Oct 2019.
In a much-attended hearing before the Gambia Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission, former military junta number 2, Edward Singhateh, admitted to having ordered several executions. “It was wrong and I’m sorry,” he said. Image © Jason Florio for JusticeInfo.net

“IT WAS WRONG AND I AM SORRY” Edward David Singhateh

Former Defense minister Edward Singhateh admitted ordering the execution of several soldiers on November 11, 1994, in his much-awaited testimony yesterday October 17 before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, in The Gambia. A former n° 2 of the military junta, he asked for forgiveness while denying several other accusations…

“Isn’t it convenient that you are always there but you never did it?” asked Lead Counsel, TRRC, Essa Faal.

“Sir, I did not shoot,” replied Singhateh.

“You see, what I am doing is to show your strategy: ‘Oh I was there, my people participated but I did not.’ You are trying to seal yourself from responsibility.”

“As a marksman, Sir, I still hold a record of sharp-shooting in the GNA [Gambia National Army]. If I wanted to kill, none of the people would have escaped. They were running in a straight line.” 

Read the full feature by Mustapha K. Darboe / JusticeInfo.net

#NeverAgainGambia

Edward Singhateh swears, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – The Gambia Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission, Oct 2019, The Gambia. Image ©Jason Florio

Prints on exhibit at the TRRC

‘Portraits4PositiveChange’ ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

Edward Singhateh begins his testimony before Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission, Oct 2019, – The Gambia. Image ©Jason Florio


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